Premiership Weekend Preview: Nathan Catt’s chance to put Exeter under pressure


Rugby Union Correspondent

Bath v Exeter Today, 3.15pm

Bath spent last weekend pushing the Wasps pack from one side of Buckinghamshire to the other, so the decision to stick with Nathan Catt at loose-head prop ahead of the returning Wales front-rower Paul James makes far more sense than some other selection calls at the Recreation Ground this season. Catt’s career, promising and infuriating in equal measure, may just have turned a corner six days ago. If he delivers a performance of equal stature against stiffer opposition today, who knows where he might end up?

With two quality southern hemisphere internationals – the Argentina wing Horacio Agulla and the exceptional South African flanker Francois Louw – back in the mix, the home side are well capable of preserving their excellent Premiership record against the Devonians. But Exeter are nobody’s fools, and with Luke Arscott’s return at full-back giving the Chiefs more of a cutting edge behind the scrum, this should be one of the more competitive West Country derbies of the campaign.

Newcastle v Harlequins Tomorrow, 2.30pm

If you thought the fake blood affair at Harlequins had finally been consigned to the cesspit of rugby history, think again: Dean Richards, the villain of the piece, will be the centre of attention at Kingston Park tomorrow afternoon as he fronts up against his old club for the first time since the dirty tricks scandal of 2009.

Not that Richards will be reflecting too much on the sins of the past. He has better things to think about – namely, edging his Newcastle side further away from the relegation zone. They are already 11 points clear of Worcester, but the Great Shambling Bear will not feel comfortable until the gap is nearer 20 than 10. Ally Hogg, the most experienced member of the Tyneside pack, makes his 100th appearance for the club, while the Londoners have picked a high-octane unit of Joe Trayfoot, Luke Wallace and Tom Guest in the back row and will not be in the mood to hang about.

London Irish v Wasps Today, 3pm

The big city rivals, neither of whom actually plays in the big city nowadays, are struggling to stay on top of their own injury lists, but the orthopaedic hassles of established players at least give the new faces a chance to impress. Jimmy Stevens, a hooker from Cornwall who worked his way through the Leicester academy before switching clubs, replaces the stricken David Paice in the Exiles’ front row, while Wasps hand the Tongan wing Will Helu a first Premiership start. Helu put a lovely try past Wales at the Millennium Stadium eight days ago. Something similar will improve the mood of David Young, his rugby director at club level, following last weekend’s pitiful showing against Bath.

Saracens v Sale Today, 3pm

For reasons best known to themselves, Saracens are offering free entry to today’s game in Hendon to anyone dressed as Elvis Presley. It is tempting to suggest there is more chance of discovering the real Elvis living in a garden hut just off the North Circular than of Sale beating the league leaders on their own artificial turf – especially as the 2011 champions have found a way of running Alex Goode, Owen Farrell and Charlie Hodgson in the same back division.

Worcester v Northampton Today, 3pm

Northampton look just a little light outside the scrum, thanks to the enforced absences of Ben Foden, Jamie Elliott, James Wilson and Kahn Fotuali’i. There again, they have Dylan Hartley, Samu Manoa and Tom Wood back between the shafts up front. Worcester are winless in the Premiership and it is difficult to see how they might put that to rights this afternoon.

i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Robbie Savage will not face a driving ban
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries were putting themselves at risk of tinnitus and, in extreme cases, irreversible hearing loss
health Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries are at risk of tinnitus
It was only when he left his post Tony Blair's director of communications that Alastair Campbell has published books
people The most notorious spin doctor in UK politics has reinvented himself
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in ‘I Am Michael’
filmJustin Kelly's latest film tells the story of a man who 'healed' his homosexuality and turned to God
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower